Open-mindedness

“Despite my firm convictions, I have been always a man who tries to face facts, and to accept the reality of life as new experience and new knowledge unfolds it. I have always kept an open mind, which is necessary to the flexibility that must go hand in hand with every form of intelligent search for truth.” – Malcolm X, The Autobiography of Malcolm X

 

A Growing Open Mind Source: Sh000rty (deviantart.com)

A Growing Open Mind
Source: Sh000rty (deviantart.com)

X asked, “Are you open-minded?” My answer was direct and immediate, “Yes”, without thinking much about what he meant by open-minded. In every way, I believed I was open-minded, and I still do.

But what exactly does it mean to be open-minded, and what should it mean? Let’s review what some people over the years think about open-mindedness, my view and of course how my friend, X, and some others see this clause.

Starting with the dictionary, the two dictionaries which I use define ‘open-minded’ closely but yet differently. Oxford says, “willing to consider new ideas’, whereas WordNet says, “ready to entertain new ideas”. Although these two definitions mean essentially the same thing, Oxford proposes an inherent possibility of the open-mind absorbing the new idea, whereas WordNet implies that the open-mind will allow the new idea pass through. I feel more comfortable with the WordNet definition, and that’s what I’ll take as my basic meaning of open-mindedness, and that’s what I meant when I said, “Yes”.

“That’s good”, X said, “I like the fact that you are open-minded”. “Yes, it’s good to be open-minded”, I added. However, judging from the events that occurred in the following days, X’s understanding of this concept definitely was not the same as mine. Eventually, there was a conflict, a huge one, drawn from simply understanding open-mindedness differently. You see, my friend believed open-mindedness was not just a readiness to consider or entertain new ideas, but also to absorb and engage in the new idea. No Sir!

X: I’m quite surprised that you say you’re open-minded, yet unwilling to engage in this ‘new idea’. Are you shy?

Me: No, it has nothing to do with being shy. What you do is your business and I’m totally fine with it. If you want to have a discussion about it, ok. But I have no intention of being a part of it.

I believe each man has what he stands for and why he stands for these things. In as much as his belief is not the same as mine, I do not stand in a position to judge or put him down but rather, I am willing to listen and know what he stands for. This helps me to see and understand the difference between his beliefs and mine. I’m open-minded to having you do whatever it is that you engage in and even have a discussion about it but it does not have to culminate in me accepting your views or you mine. Essentially, my open-mindedness is drawn not from a willingness to change and accept the idea but from a desire to learn and grow.

Whilst Malcolm X puts wonderfully his reasoning for open-mindedness as is in the opening quote of this post, David Niven puts his as, “Never stop learning and adapting.  The world will always be changing.  If you limit yourself to what you knew and what you were comfortable with earlier in your life, you will grow increasingly frustrated with your surroundings as you age”. And John Maynard Keynes says, “When my information changes, I alter my conclusions. What do you do, sir?” With a closed-mind, there is no way to receive this new information and even if you do not want to alter your conclusions, when information changes, you need to alter your defence of your conclusions.

With all this talk, open-mindedness seems the way to go right? Well, not exactly!

“To be open-minded interminably is not a virtue. It is a failure to think, a failure to learn, a failure to decide and perhaps a failure of nerve.” ― Roy Hoover

“An open mind is all very well in its way, but it ought not to be so open that there is no keeping anything in or out of it.  It should be capable of shutting its doors sometimes, or it may be found a little draughty.” – Samuel Butler

“By all means let’s be open-minded, but not so open-minded that our brains drop out.” ― Richard Dawkins

“You can have such an open mind that it is too porous to hold a conviction.” – George W. Crane

“The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.” ― Terry Pratchett, Diggers

This last quote here, describes exactly what my friend X tried to do.

I keep an open-mind does not mean I allow both the wheat and chaff to lie in there. All pass through, but I absorb the wheat and sieve off the chaff ‘tout de suite’.

“The problem with open-mindedness is that it can become empty-mindedness” wherein you are in a situation where you do not have a position of your own, but rather listen to all and question all and you stand and tilt as the wind blows.

But, should one be open-minded to all things? Yes and No is my answer to this question, supported by the words of the literary genius C.S Lewis (a good friend of J.R.R Tolkien), “An open mind, in questions that are not ultimate, is useful. But an open mind about the ultimate foundations either of Theoretical or of Practical Reason is idiocy. If a man’s mind is open on these things, let his mouth at least be shut. He can say nothing to the purpose.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man

For me, to the popular question, ‘What if God is not supreme?’ In as much as I may be willing to listen to your reasons for thinking that, you stand no chance of lessening my conviction that God is supreme. I do that, only in an attempt to see things from where you stand so as to be able to strengthen my position.

The message in all this though is tolerance, understanding and reasoning. For interestingly, I have another friend Y, whom I love dearly but then shares quite a similar opinion in this case with X. We talked about it a few times, and I can say, I still do not fully comprehend the reasons for having such a stand or accept it but we laugh about it, and importantly I have learnt a lot about why people have that stand. The world around us changes, and nothing we choose to believe or not, or do or not will stop change from happening, what we must master is how to grow as that change around us occurs.

I’ll conclude with a paragraph of Jeff Mason:

“Dogmatism breeds intolerance. Like ideology, dogmatism puts blinders on what its adherents can see, disables their questioning faculties, and breeds fervour and fanaticism. … Having an open mind does not mean that one never comes to any convictions in life. It is perfectly possible to have an open mind and live a very principled life, without holding one’s beliefs dogmatically. Having an open mind means being prepared to question even your most central beliefs if there is occasion to do so. It means being open, when the time comes, to having your mind changed by an argument better than one’s own. It means being able to think both sides of an issue, both the side you think is true and the side you think is false. It also means being able to suspend your beliefs, to play devil’s advocate, and to detach yourself somewhat from your own beliefs, actions and feelings. Only living with an open mind gives us a chance to grow and change, for change is inevitable, while growth, unfortunately, is not”.

PS: As a bonus, if you read the post to the end (or just skipped to the end) and were wondering what exactly X’s ‘new idea’ was, it was homosexuality.

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Despite my firm convictions…

“Despite my firm convictions, I have been always a man who tries to face facts, and to accept the reality of life as new experience and new knowledge unfolds it. I have always kept an open mind, which is necessary to the flexibility that must go hand in hand with every form of intelligent search for truth.” – Malcolm X, The Autobiography of Malcolm X

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April 5, 2015 · 10:31 am

A Vacation Story Sequel: You Shall not Walk Alone … Love in Dubai

“With this ring, I give you my heart, I promise from this day forward, you shall not walk alone, may my heart be your shelter, and my arms be your home” – Author Unknown

 

Wedding Grubs

Wedding Grubs

Okay Okay… before you think the ‘series no go end’. Well, the AVS series has officially ended, but vacations should never end, and so should the sharing of the experiences never end.

Alas! The AVS series bears fruits. And not just fruits as words but as actions. I’m touched that my desire to share vacation experiences has not only encouraged others to have their own amazing experiences, but also share them. What you’re about to read is the mind-blowing ‘JJC’ experience written by Count Pitcrewda (@misterpikuda) – retired internationally acclaimed amateur poet and chef. It’s his account, written in his words (and of course exclusively published by yours truly – WeirdObserver)

 

… … … … … … … … …

Here’s my account of my travels with Ms Senaya (she’s Ghanaian/Nigerian/Togolese/German) to the golden deserts of one of the finest cities in the Persian Gulf for the only destination wedding (stressful but marvellous) I have ever been to. That I once again write is not necessarily because of the marvels of this city or the awesome experience I had (I was ill throughout actually) but because I have been inspired by WeirdObserver’s many writings into his travels (the snitch always travels to places I wanna go to without me) and I’ll like this to be an extension… of his eyes.

Day 1: (The trip) – They say you can never hope for more than you can dream of. Seeing as I have never left the shores of Nigeria (except to Cotonou, Togo J… it counts as well jor), I was quite content with Nigeria and her many travails, despite the fact that she’s drained all hope I ever had for her and as such I never demanded much from her. My exit from My own country, with My own Green passport freshly minted and ready to be disfigured by the many stamp colours I see caressing the worn out passport of others… was one of the worst experience of my “ill-exposed to travel” life. I was harassed by immigration for not having the recommended basic travel allowance (BTA)… I took a quick profile of all those who they harassed for this (it was good profiling) and they all looked like “perfect candidates for vanishing”… except me of course (ugh! why wouldn’t I want to come back?). So as they tossed me from one official to the other to obtain their own personal BTA from me. I did what I thought I would never do… cursed my green passport for I was being harassed on my own soil. So, I finally went on to the next security station where I had to pull my shoes and walk on cold terrazzo floors to cross the metal detectors. I got to the other side and the officer in charge of this post held my bag and opened it because it was too heavy. It was just a laptop and a heavy one at that. Of course all excitement about travelling to ‘obodo oyinbo’ now was gone from my eyes. Officer: “this your laptop heavy o ahahn”

Me: *weak smile seething of fresh anger beneath* “na so we see am o”. (well, that’s how it is)

Officer: “I no go give you back unless you “shake bodi” for me. You know say christmas don come” (I won’t give you back unless you give me a tip. You know Christmas is around the corner)

Me: *sigh this guy’s a joker. Another weak smile* *the remaining conversation has been repressed*.

But of course, I already swore I was not parting with any more money. At the point of boarding, the crew from RwandAir once again asked me to “shake bodi” so this time I “shook bodi”. I danced azonto for the ‘baggers’. They, tired and confused from trying to “uncode their request” for me allowed me to board… finally. (This whole escapade took about 2h30mins).

Oh yes… I took a connecting flight to Dubai so my first stop was Kigali. Rwanda oh Rwanda! …Reminiscing Wyclef’s beautiful song… Before this day, whenever I thought of Rwanda, I thought of war and genocide. I actually prayed that war doesn’t break out while I stopped over. Today however, I apologise to the people of Rwanda and amazing airport staff who I only met during the transit for my myopic view. The Kigali airport has just one runway though… lol! And it had no fence and it was sort of on a hill… lool! I’ve watched too many movies of planes skidding off runways… the result if it happened in this airport would be *&^* &%@^ &$^& @*$. Now Kigali airport was small, not wow’ish but neat and very very functional. Their transit/departure lounge was cold, beautiful and had… wait for it… Free WiFi. OMG!!! Yes I said FREE WIFI!! And it also had sockets on the floors near the sits so you can plug your laptops and phones while you wait. They had a very nice coffee shop that collects payments in francs and dollars and the chef there was an expert at making coffee with creamy designs of all sorts… it’s a very tricky art. Amazing stuff, but ‘why I go buy coffee’? Yes back to the airport… the toilet was immaculate (male toilet that is… I’m a guy… so I went only to the male… you get), heavenly and as good as oriental hotels toilets. Even though, on my way back 2 of the 3 urinals were no longer functional and the WC’s were now messy (I couldn’t help but say… Nigerians were here). The toilet facility was a thing to behold. I even took a picture. Hehehe! God bless Kigali!! Really!!! The flight from Kigali to Dubai was equally uncomfortable as the first to Kigali. Seeing as I was now ill. We flew over beautiful countries (********) that had electricity and with a cloudless sky it was a marvel to see. Even the pilot called our attention to it. We passed the equator 4 times during the whole trip. I read somewhere that there’s usually a ceremony that is done in-flight for those who are passing through the equator for the first time. Well… I got none. So much for reading.

The Kigali Airport Toilet. :D

The Kigali Airport Toilet. 😀

Addis Ababa from the Skies

Addis Ababa from the Skies

We (I, Seun and others…) landed in Dubai 4:45amish and of course the sights from the skies were beautiful. Breath-taking perhaps…. DXB is an XXXL airport, so much that if you go to the wrong terminal … you are screwed if you are late for your flight. (I mean the taxis and shuttle have to ask you for your terminal if you ask for their services). They have a whole terminal and everything dedicated for their national carrier “Emirates”. Dubai was COLD for me and the airport was a lot cooler, freezing cold. The walk to passport control was long in the freezing weather. The walk was even longer than the time it took me to clear all the checks and exchange my dollars. Can somebody talk to Nigeria and Nigerians please. I took an airport taxi to my hotel and the fares are quite fare (pun intended). To start their engine was already AED 25 and the rest was calculated based on the duration (this can’t work in Lagos biko. If you want to learn from anything I’ve written here please don’t take this one until Lagos Traffic has been resolved. Thank you for your compliance). Yes! There was no traffic but there were traffic light stops (here’s a brother on a budget c’mon!!). I didn’t know where my hotel was except the address the hotelier gave us and we told the taxi guy we are going to gateway hotel at Bur Dubai. He looked at us like *yeah! Righhht!!* Where are you going again? I was miffed. Shey this one doesn’t know Bur Dubai ni which kain taxi guy be this. Taxi-man: “just get in”. We did. Taxi-man: “do you have the hotel’s phone number? Please give it to me” Me: *chai see badt guy* gave it to him and he called the hotel for the address and then we set off. The ride was good. I can’t remember the make of the car but never in my stay there did I see a Range Rover taxi or a Hummer taxi or a Camaro police car (I know this exist though but I never saw it even in their police station… I will like to let my family know at this point that I was never arrested or never did I have a reason to be at a police station. I just stretched my neck from the metro I was in to scout the station well… dazall). So yer… the ride was good and for all you people who used to pass range rover taxi and stuff rumours in Dubai… shame on you. We passed a toll gate and AED 4 was added to the taxi fare. No! We did not stop to queue and give anybody money for toll fare… as we approached the toll “bars” it was ‘orthomathecally’ collected. *shut the front door*! Fashola you try but you no do your work well! The whole taxi fare to my hotel was AED 46.50 (N5.1 to AED1). Fair enough! I got to know that Bur Dubai was like Ikeja. So basically I was telling the taxi-man Gateway hotel Ikeja… if I was in Lagos that’s license to be duped big time *shamefaced*.

It was breakfast and sleep all through Day 1 in Dubai… nothing happened here… keep it moving folks!

Day 2: scratch that. Dubai Days: The Metro is a fascinating transportation network. Cuts right across the whole city and you get to see the whole city (ok almost) while on the metro. And trust me it gets boring and tiring from the 3rd day because it’s now like you have to stare at the buildings because they demand it. >>

>> Dubai City mall. The mall is an absolutely exquisite building internally. I didn’t get to see the structure from the outside because the metro has a bridge connected to the mall from the nearest stop. YES!! Amazing planning. Lotsa Shopsss and the food court… oh the food court!!! Iranian, Indian, Texan, Japanese, Chinese, vegetarian, American, British… it was a cultural display. If you went to this food court and you bought burger and fries from McDonalds or Burger King… Shame on You!! My best was Iranian. Amazing kebabs/kabobs, minty rice…a host of flavours. Good food. Nice attractions at the mall. (cinema, ice rink, underwater zoo I think (not a fan of watching animals on display although I really really wanted to go see the devil ray fish up close. Next time perhaps). Except you have a mission at the mall do not go there alone, it can get boring pretty fast. Do not go there because you are bored like in Lagos.

Food2

Joojeh’s: My favourite

 

I found this waterfall art interesting

I found this waterfall art interesting

Oh yer the destination wedding couple planned a couple (pun intended) of events (bowling at the festival mall, picnic at the palm beach in Jumeirah, Dhow cruise and desert safari). I only attended the bowling picnic at the festival mall and of course the desert safari (after much praised reviews).

The festival mall was equally a big mall and had lotsa niceties, less crowd and maybe a little more aesthetics than the Dubai mall. The Dubai mall had computerized navigation maps almost everywhere though and oh yes I got to see Funke Awofiyebi and her husband and kids perhaps. The way she reacted when I spotted her was like “hello! Oh I guess you must be Nigerian because you seem to recognize me even though it seems you don’t know how you know me” pssh oh well!! Bowling was fun as always but bowling while ill wasn’t as much fun. Those balls were heavy had to settle for balls 6-9kg tops with 6 being the most preferred.

The desert safari was a lot more hype than it really is. For all those interested in going for the Safari, in fact I recommend going for the safari but please note 3 most important things.

  1. The safaris is about the ride
  2. The safari is just about the ride
  3. The desert safari is just about the ride ok!

Now so you don’t go there disappointed… it’s not a real desert. So all those desert safari pictures of Jeep rides in a desert is NOT true. It’s a heavily sandy piece of land located around Jebel Ali I think. To be more precise it’s like a very sandy construction site in Ajah with lots of hills and valleys and tricky turns. Once you get past this fact… trust me you’ll have fun. Here are tips to have fun at the safari.

  1. Sit in the front seat with the driver.
  2. Be prepared for the drivers are crazy and like to watch you have your heart in your mouth
  3. Do not tell the driver to take it easy… cos you’ll ruin it. It’s meant to be a crazy ride
  4. It is a crazy ride… so bring your craze and balls along. Leave your heart in the trunk.

The buffet at the safari was bleh, the shisha was bleh, the belly dancing was laughably bleh and the other dance was actually a cross-dressed man with paint on his face and a wiggle to his waist. Awful performances. So make sure you enjoy the ride that’s all you got. In fact maybe you go for the afternoon or morning session that is all rides and no activity. Oh yes there were quad bikes… got there late so I didn’t have the opportunity to.

I don’t think the dhow cruise is much fun even though everyone says it is. The food (pssh go to dubai mall food court), the views at night (puhlease take the metro… at night), the performances (same as that on the safari).

I didn’t get to go to the Ferrari World at Abu Dhabi. That’s my greatest regret. At AED 250 per person for tickets + rides only, I’m sure it’s a whole lot of fun packed in one day. Or else I will not leave there.

2250 words! Wow! I must be enjoying this writing thing. Ok I will wrap up but not until I tell you about the main event that brought me to Dubai, the destination wedding ceremony itself. It was Folashade and Olutola’s wedding (should I say their names or bleep it out… I dunno) I don’t wanna be sued or something. A great couple who seem to be made for each other. I barely know them… but great couple (*whispers* you see… please don’t sue me).

The wedding ceremony was held at Jebel Ali golf resort. Now this is by far the most amazing resort I’ve ever set my eyes on in films. Maybe because I got to see this myself and not via some HD screen that is built to enhance images. It’s about a 45min drive from Deira which seems to be in the middle of the whole city. When you approach Jebel Ali you get to understand where Dubai was built from, for it’s a large parcel of sandy mass with construction machineries sighted in the distance. A working and functional city which is still very much under construction. With families, friends and I already seated on a lawn at the resort over-looking a lake, the bride came with her entourage via a golf cart from the resort hotel looking all pretty and stuff (The chief bridesmaid looked a lot prettier #justsaying). The pianist gave an awesome… as in really really awesome rendition of a lovely but modern love song (can’t remember but here comes the bride would have absolutely just marred the moment). The pianist set the tone for the ceremony quite aptly and the pastor took the stage. Funny pastor though. When they got to the part where he asked the congregation “if you know any reason why… speak now or forever hold your peace” he asked the couple “or is this why you chose Dubai? So they aren’t like 30mins away from interrupting the ceremony ehn!?” The couple said their vows like they do in those movies and shiii. The groom read his and ‘teared up’ while reading it to her… the bride read hers as well and was quite moving. Now I’m not a sucker for love stories but I believe if you wanna say vows to your bride or groom at your wedding it shouldn’t be read. You should hold her hands with your two hands, look into her eyes and tell her/him what it is your heart tells you will be. Oh well… the brides words had the most captivating and the strongest love words that can be told to anyone. This is what I have titled my entire trip. She told Olutola “You will not walk alone….”

The Wedding

The Wedding

Day Finale: My trip back was not so good. I can say I hate travelling (well out or into MMIA). But then, I like being in new environments and places. How do I solve this? As eventful and exciting as this trip was, I was glad to be home, well, until I got to passport control. The place stunk like the piss of a man who is on antibiotics. Now where are my bags? let me leave this awful station. My bags sadly and depressingly never made it to Lagos. “Check back on Thursday your bags may be here by then. People who came in on the 18th are the ones just getting their bags now (21st Dec)” said the spokesperson from my Airline. Very depressing. A nearby man who just got his bags saw that one of them had been tampered with. The zip had been broken and the bag forced open. I left the airport and looked back at the sign I was once proud of, “Murtala Mohammed International Airport” it said and for once I saw the airport look like something from a war-torn country. Touché! Alas! I had to trek to the car park which was like from my hotel to Al Fahidi metro station because there was no sign of the famous car park shuttle. Famous because I used to use it to shut my “I Just got back” friends up with saying “things are sha getting better na”. *Ugh* welcome to Lagos, welcome home @misterpikuda!! Have a nice stay!!!

PS: I hereby apologize to all my friends who I have picked from MMIA for shutting them up and not understanding them. I am utterly and sincerely sorry if you felt offended by my harshness and stoic view. I understand you all now.

Thank you all for your patience in reading this. I hope you’ve learnt a lot. Thank you Ms Senaya. Thank you WeirdObserver for I have found joy in writing this like I’ve always done.

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Thank you Count Pitcrewda (@misterpikuda) for detailedly sharing your experiences with us.

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Filed under A Vacation Story, Étranger, Series, Shared Experiences

You shall not walk alone…

“With this ring, I give you my heart, I promise from this day forward, you shall not walk alone, may my heart be your shelter, and my arms be your home” – Author Unknown

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December 31, 2014 · 11:38 pm

AVS: Home – The End of A Vacation Story. La fin d’une histoire des vacances.

Previously on A Vacation Story: The world is beautiful. I haven’t seen it all, but, from experiences in London, Nantes, Grenoble, Nice, Monaco, La Baule, Paris, Barcelona, Madrid and Lagos… , I am confident it is. Read all about it here

–This series is dedicated to all those who helped plan and pay for these vacations, those who shared in the experiences, those who told me their stories and allowed me (or not) to write about them and use their pictures, and also to those persons that read (or will read) the dozen posts (Preface+10 episodes+Postscript) in this series–

“They say ‘all good things must come to an end’, well, so should all bad things.” – Toluwalope Ige

IBADAN (Photo Credit: Wale Adenuga)

IBADAN (Photo Credit: Wale Adenuga)

*sing with me*

“oh my home, o my home
oh my home, o my home
when shall I see my home
when shall I see my native land
I will never forget my home!”

 

With all respect to the cities I visited within the running of this series but have decided not to or haven’t been able to write about . You are no less important than those selected. Although, to be honest, some of you had nothing to offer me to write about, Warwick (the second w is silent) and Coventry for example. Bleh! However, some had a lot even with just a few hours of being there, Birmingham for example.

But in all, all these cities, vacations and experiences did offer a lot, and it’s been fun writing about them and sharing the stories. And even more, I am glad it’s touching people and encouraging them to have experiences.

Anyway, now I am home. Home. Ibadan. My city. ‘Ibadan nilé’. I see no better way to describe Ibadan than to use the words of J.P Clark – “Ibadan, running splash of rust and gold – flung and scattered among seven hills like broken china in the sun”. How I have missed you so much. As boring as you seemed to be when I was here, making me leave, I never forgot about you and always longed for when I will return from my journeys. A few months, and so much has changed. You are now home to cinemas and malls and big eateries. Glad, but not so glad because now you offer more ways to spend money. And all these girls thinking, ‘oh well, he just got back, he should have a lot of money to spend’. The rust over the gold is clearing and the brilliance is starting to shine once again.

Oh my home (O my home). Oh my home (O my home). Now I see my home. And the song makes all the more sense to me now. Oh my bed, which has deserted me and allowed to be occupied by another because I have been gone for so long. (not so long though, but all the same, just shows how sought for my bed is). There’s nothing like the comfort and peace of being home and not in some hostel or hotel or ‘unknown’ person’s house. This serenity makes me wonder why I had ever chosen to leave, but, the memories of the experiences had from these adventures answers aptly. Home is where the heart is, however, the heart is not the only organ needed for functioning of the body. I may yet leave again, or rather, I will leave again. But home, do not think it is because you do not offer me enough to stay, I am just too greedy to stick around having only what you offer. There’s more out there in the cities of the ‘monde’. Yes, I know you want me to stay. You offer me my beautiful family and friends, cheaper cost of living, comprehensible language, comfort of the known and etcetera.

Thank you home, but I cannot be here all the time. I have to go.

La Fin!

 

I am grateful to you for being with me for all these journeys and staying ever reliable. We still going places.

I am grateful to you for being with me for all these journeys and staying ever reliable. We still going places.

 

And to wrap it up, guess what? This is just the beginning.

 

PS: As I pointed out in the preface, although, I have written all these experiences as if they were mine, some of them are of people close to me, which I have merely recounted. Arrivederci.

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Filed under A Vacation Story, Étranger, Series

All good things…

“They say ‘all good things must come to an end’, well, so should all bad things.” – Toluwalope Ige

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December 24, 2014 · 9:14 pm

AVS Episode X: From Lagos with Love

Previously on A Vacation Story: Tales about some cities outside NIGERIA

–This narration is dedicated to Sege on his crossing over. Much love. And of course to Lagos’ finest Motolani–

“Lagos is the most populous city in Nigeria, the second fastest-growing city in Africa and the seventh in the world.” – Wikipedia

Welcome to Lagos

Welcome to Lagos

Lagos aka Eko.

In Lagos, the hustle is real. From the moment you step into the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, the hot air, frowny officials, crowded space and slow moving queues remind you that ‘This is Lagos’. Switch on the hustle or protective mode. I’m not that well-travelled, but at arrival at any airport, I have never had my passport checked by more than one immigration officer. At this airport, your passport is checked by at least three! Even if it’s green! Welcome to Lagos.

Having collected my luggage, as I half expected, I was called over to one side by a custom official for luggage check. How long have you been away for? xxxxx months. He looked at me with awe in his eyes. Are you sure? Yes. Then, he checked my passport and looked at me with ‘na so the suffer reach for dere’ on his face. He scanned through my luggage and then said to his colleague, ‘Eleyi o mu nkan kan wa’ – This guy came back empty handed. As I was expecting to hear ‘anything for us?’ he signaled that I should pack up and go, as if I’d been a waste of his time. I think I’d have felt better if he actually asked. Chai! I need to wear a leather jacket and a pair of overshined ‘Italian’ shoes on my next entry.

Although Lagos isn’t home, it is close enough to home to have expected to come to the airport some royal village drummers and dancers and maybe my pet elephant as well. Rather, I’m welcomed by a lone soul and numerous calls of ‘Buy your Naira’, ‘Change your dollars’, ‘Call your family’… Travelex ain’t got no business here.

How was I going to make it through these three days in Eko? This wasn’t by any means my first time in Lagos. Lagos was my life for about two years. I dreaded it though. And not helping was the fact that I was in Lagos at a time when there were a few cases of Ebola in Nigeria. Glad to say Nigeria is Ebola free now. There was a hovering tension. Before going to Lagos, I actually felt I still had my hustle and I’ll be able to get around fine by any means BRT, taxi, bus – danfo, bike – okada, tricycle -marwa. I couldn’t even get myself to take a taxi. Private car please. Sege, wey the car keys?

I had a few places to go, friends to see, errands to run, deliveries to make; all which, I am not going to bore you with. Lagos is beautiful, but unfortunately, and like most Lagosians, I had no time for sight-seeing and hence, no recount on that. I did meet an interesting lady though. Motolani. We talked for just five minutes. However, the conversation was stimulating enough for me to know that I’ll always remember those five minutes and of course the person. *wink* *wink*

Before I end, let me take some words to introduce you to Café de Viande. They just opened at about the time of my vacation and they probably have the best breakfast offer in Lagos mainland. I ordered (with free delivery) this delicious looking sea food crêpes (crêpes just sounds more appropriate than pancake). Amazing! The effect was ‘order again next time’! They got you covered I must say. (Free advert alert. Link me up to the CEO if you know him)

 

And to wrap it up, guess what? Èkó ò ní bàjé o!

 

Next on A Vacation Story: Home: The End

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